If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, said the LORD of hosts…
God only has an absolute right to curse. Men curse each other wrongfully; God's curses are merciful and righteous. He blesses readily; He curses reluctantly. The Jews deserved more evil than that which befell them.
I. MEN POSSESS MANY BLESSINGS.
1. Natural. Abundance of the fruits of the earth. Refreshing variations of the seasons. Gratification of our senses with beauty, fragrance, and music. Stores of useful minerals, and medicinal herbs.
2. National. Subjection to rightly constituted authority. Freedom of speech. Commercial prosperity. Progressive legislation. Well-stored marts. Liberty of conscience. Wise distribution of wealth in the creation of labour.
3. Domestic. Love of kindred. Sympathy of friendship. A quiet and peaceable habitation. A bountiful supply of the necessities of life.
4. Personal. Health. Wisdom. Honour. Success. Wealth.
5. Religious. Pious associations. Spiritual enlightenment. The worship of the sanctuary. Divine pardon and purification. The instruction of men and books. The hope of eternal glory.
II. THESE BLESSINGS MAY BE CURSED,
1. God does this by permitting the blessings themselves to become a curse. Abounding luxuriance in nature has engendered idolatry, sensuality, and sloth.
2. God sometimes inflicts a curse upon the blessings. The fruitful land becomes barrenness. God may curse our blessings —
(1) That we may recognise His hand in their bestowment.
(2) That we may seek our blessedness in Him.
(3) That we may rightly appreciate their value.
(4) That we may be sanctified by the affliction which their loss or abuse may occasion.
(5) That we may illustrate His holiness by the punishment of our sins.
III. THESE BLESSINGS ARE CURSED BECAUSE OF MEN'S INDIFFERENCE TO GOD'S GLORY. Persistent indifference to God will ever bring His curse. Let us, in order that what we regard as blessings may continue to bless us, lay God's glory to heart —
1. By pondering God's claims until our hearts are moved.
2. By fixing our warmest affections upon His glory.
3. By living a life of ardent devotion to its furtherance in the world.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
WEB: If you will not listen, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name," says Yahweh of Armies, "then will I send the curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.